After lots of bike riding, day dreaming, beer drinking, and mapping, we feel the Caldera 250/500 encompasses the rich beauty and geological rarities that the Eastern Sierra has to offer. You’ll go up and down a lot (literally and psychologically) and soak in some of the best scenery you’ll ever find. You’ll curse it, hate it, you’ll fall in love with it. You’ll not soon forget it.

Caldera (stats)What to Caldera-(map)Know

The Start: The route starts in beautiful Mammoth Lakes, California. The town sits at 7,880 feet on the eastern portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mammoth Lakes has a population of just over 8,000 residence and has every amenity you can thing of.  Camping, motels, grocery stores, bike shops, and so on. It’s a resort town that caters to skiing and mountain biking. Drive times to Mammoth lakes:
  • 2 hours and 40 minutes from Tahoe Area
  • 4 hours and 30 minutes from Sacramento
  • 5 hours and 30 minutes from San Francicso
  • 5 hours from Los Angeles
The Trail: In a nutshell – magical. From world class singletrack to high alpine mountain passes to riding a volcanic caldera, this route gives you more flavors than Baskin Robbins. Both the 250 and 500 mile routes travel in a counterclockwise direction in California. The 500 mile version takes a short visit into Nevada before returning back to California. The two routes are identical through the Glass Mountain Traverse, at which point 500 mile riders continue norther, and 250 mile riders head west and back to Mammoth. A few highlights:
  • Lower Rock Creek
  • Coyote Traverse
  • White Mountains
  • Volcanic Tablelands
  • Glass Mountains
  • Bodie Hills
  • Sweetwater Mountains
Camping: Lots of great full-service and primitive camping opportunities on the route. – all listed in the cue sheets. Weather: The weather on the Caldera bikepacking route is variable, especially at higher elevations – be ready for everything from 100 degree heat in Big Pine / Bishop, to 20-30’s at night up in the 11k elevation of the Sweetwater Mountains. Use your favorite weather website/app to double check before embarking – but don’t rely on forecasts. Resupply: There are many towns with full services as well as spigots/water fountains en route. There’s also lots of rivers and creeks, great for filtering along the way. There is one very tough section without resupply between the Volcanic Tablelands and Glass Mountains (a tough 65 miles) that requires carrying a bunch of water. Again, this is all listed in the cue sheets.

Resources — there you can register for the route and obtain the gpx files, cue sheets, and route updates.


  1. There better a hot springs every 30 miles along that route.

  2. Pingback: Rigs of the 2015 Caldera - Bikepackers Magazine

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